Daffodils

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I picked these daffodils yesterday–they’ve just recently started blooming. They were growing by the side of the road, and I just had to pick some! I love the variety–some are bright yellow, some are soft yellow, and some are soft cream. My favorite, though, are the daffodils that have creamy petals with vivid orange centers.

Do you have daffodils in your garden and are they blooming yet?

I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

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Spring Colors

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I love the colors in this photo I took of hydrangeas, my favorite flower! I thought I’d call out some of these colors and make a spring color palette! These would be great colors to decorate with…or even create artwork or crafts with.

Hope you are enjoying the arrival of spring! :)

I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.

Spring Fever

I had to make a quick trip to the mall and ended up staying longer than I intended because I was admiring some pretty Spring and Easter tableware and decor at two of my favorite stores, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma! Teal, light and bright greens, and nature-inspired neutrals seem to be big color themes for the spring season. These happen to be some of my favorite colors–no wonder I was so drawn to the store displays! :) (Photos shown in this post are from Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma)

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At Pottery Barn, I loved all the teal in the table settings displayed right by the front entrance. The tableware looked great with the natural color and texture of woven place mats, along with some burlap and twine accents–so springy and outdoorsy! The inside store display I saw looked very much like the set-up in the photo above, featured on the Pottery Barn website.

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And I thought these bunny cupcake stands were sweet–they also work great for mini pies and tarts or cookies!

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I also liked these nature-inspired basket fillers

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…perfect for creating your own woodland baskets!

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The teal-green-neutral combination also looked great in other home accessories…

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…like this brightly-patterned pillow.

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I thought this embroidered butterfly pillow had a great spring feel, too.

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And I loved all the glassware in spring colors, especially the teal!

img45cWilliams-Sonoma also had nature-inspired designs in some of their spring tableware

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…and they have a new Botanical Citrus Collection which looks very springy.

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You can always find fun baking accessories there, like this Buttercup Cakelet Pan. How cute is that?

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And I saw these cookies later on their website–some great Easter cookie decorating inspiration!

Do you have Spring Fever like I do? Have you found any inspiring Easter and Spring decorating, entertaining, or gift ideas out there?

I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.

Decorating Ideas for Next Christmas

It never fails…when Christmas is over, I come across ideas I wish I had seen earlier in the season so I could have tried them out. Well, I’m saving these ideas for next Christmas! Maybe you’ll find something here you’ll want to try next year, too!

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From My Picture-Perfect Life–Top photo: display ornaments in a variety of glass containers or covered plates or stands. Even larger vases work great! Bottom photo: Silver and gold are a great combination–add fullness to a silvery Christmas tree with decorative gold stems.

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From A Fanciful Diversion–a Shabby Chic lantern filled with a collection of snowy, glittery treasures.

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My artistic friend Eileen had a similar idea this Christmas, making such a pretty arrangement, above, on her table!

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From Carpe Diem–Glttery gold ornaments paired with rustic and natural elements–and more lanterns surrounding the bottom of the tree.

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Love this outdoor lantern on a vintage sled–from Self Architecture. Gives any porch a warm and welcoming look!

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A great way to add a touch of Christmas to bedrooms–hang stockings at the foot of the bed and add a Christmas pillow on top! From Passion Decor.

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Top photo: Pinecones go great with the other rustic decor in this Shabby Chic display, from Seda y Nacar. And from the same site, a festive bannister with gifts and greenery.

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What a cozy entryway from Texstil Design!

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Cute little Christmas trees add a nice touch on tables indoors or out. From Jaynes Cozy Corner.

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A glowing, golden vintage village warms up any room. From Old, but gold.

Well, we will sure be prepared for next Christmas, won’t we? :) Have you collected some ideas you are saving for next Christmas?

Joy and Thankfulness

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I love what this verse says. And I love the way it looks, too! (This is actually a print that you can buy on Etsy, if you’re interested). It’s a great reminder that during difficult times as well as good times…be joyful, be thankful, and continue to pray!

Holiday Books To Give and Get…and Two Giveaways!

I have a collection of five holiday books I wanted to tell you about, and the first two shown in this post are the giveaways–I’ll tell you more about that at the end of the post! Here’s a little info about each one of the books:

165303802The Farm Chicks Christmas is a wonderful Country Living book that has many “merry ideas for the holidays”…including lots of decorating ideas, DIY crafts, and yummy recipes! It came out as a hardcover book a few years ago, and now there’s a softcover edition (and this is one of my giveaways)! There are lots of great, colorful photos in this book with plenty of timeless, homey ideas that will inspire you each holiday season.

197757087The Little Book of Baking is a sweet little hardcover spiral-bound book that’s filled with yummy recipes you can make for the holidays or year round. Brought to you by Good Housekeeping, there are 55 recipes for cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and pies…ranging from classics like New York-Style Cheesecake to unique treats like Pistachio and Cherry Biscotti. There are easy-to-follow directions, so all levels of bakers will like using this. I have a giveaway copy of this, too!

513-F9kASnL._SL500_AA300_Delish: A Home-Baked Christmas is another cute little hardcover spiral-bound book that has recipes for “56 Delicious Cookies, Cakes, & Gifts From Your Kitchen.” Delish.com is a popular website for home cooks and this recently-published book has recipes for a variety of favorite holiday treats. Delish recipes are triple-tested every time, so they must be good! :) There are lots of beautiful photos in the book–it would make a great gift for anyone you know who loves to bake!

mediumThe Daily Cookie is brimming with “365 Tempting Treats for the Sweetest Year of Your Life.” A cookie recipe for each day of the year…how great is that? An event or holiday is highlighted for each day, with a yummy cookie recipe that complements the special occasion. There’s everything from Sour Cream Blueberry Pie Bars to Chocolate Sundae Cookies…a great cookbook for any cookie-lover! You could even call this hardcover book with color photos of every cookie a “cookiepedia!”

180253177Last but certainly not least, I want to tell you about another Country Living book called Deck the Halls…I love this book that’s filled with do-it-yourself ideas for Christmas gifts, crafts, and decorations. It also has super-fun, whimsical, and artsy pullout recipe and gift cards, ornaments, and gingerbread house templates…along with some yummy “gifts from the kitchen” recipes. This softcover book is packed with lots of ideas to make your holidays creative, fun, and festive!

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Comments 12 and 26–Linda G. and Barbara N.–were the winners…congratulations!

giveawaybksNow for the giveaways…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of The Farm Chicks Christmas (softcover) or The Little Book of Baking, leave a comment on this blog post saying which book you’d like to win between now and Saturday, December 8, at midnight (CST)–the random drawings will be made from the comments on this post only! The winners will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced right here in this post on Sunday. Winners will be notified via email (if a winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing).

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me which book you would like to win. (If you would like winning either one, you can say that, too, but let me know what your first choice would be).

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

The giveaways are open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season!

IKEA Inspiration

When I was on vacation recently, I had the chance to stop in at one of my favorite stores–IKEA! They have all kinds of home decor and kitchen items, wonderfully designed and so reasonably priced! I can’t walk into an IKEA store without buying anything, so it’s probably good that I don’t live close to one! :) When I do get a chance to shop there, though, it’s a real treat.

After I got back home, I browsed a little more on their website,  IKEA.com. I wish I had seen the tumbler pictured above when I was at the store…I definitely would have bought that! Here are some other great things I found…guess I’ll have to add these to my wish list for my next visit!

A fun, graphic rug…

 

A cool teapot (only $12.99!)…

A nifty serving bowl–I think this was just $2.99…

Colorful potato peelers…

A great chandelier…

A white chairbed…perfect for smaller living spaces…

Cupcake liners…I can always use those!…

And last but not least, ice pop makers…perfect for summer!

Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of the kinds of things you can find at IKEA!

Do you shop at IKEA? What types of things do you buy there?

Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots

Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots is dedicated to “…foodies, food bloggers, home cooks, and chefs…and to anyone who craves a delicious meal, chases beauty, and wants to make people hungry with their photographs.” That certainly includes me! :) So I was glad to have the chance to review this very helpful, comprehensive guide to taking better food photos. Author Nicole S. Young specializes in commercial photography and is an accredited Adobe Certified Expert, so she has lots of expert advice and tips to share!

This book has seven chapters…

  1. Photography Fundamentals
  2. Photography Equipment
  3. Lighting
  4. Styling and Props
  5. Framing and Composition
  6. Processing Images with Adobe® Photoshop®
  7. Behind the Scenes

The chapters cover everything from getting the right camera equipment, using the right camera settings, creating the best lighting and composition, helpful food styling tips, and photo editing techniques with Photoshop. The last chapter, Behind the Scenes, is especially interesting because it goes into detail about how some great food photos were created.

Throughout the book, there are also photo tips and how-tos highlighted on various pictures…

I thought these pages were really helpful!

Overall, I think this is a great book to have if you’re wanting to improve your food photography skills. Don’t worry about having to get the newest, most expensive equipment…Nicole recommends working with what you have while you’re learning before you run out and buy anything new. My own camera is about 7 years old (it’s a Canon Rebel XT), but I’m still going to be using this for awhile!

I feel like I still have a lot to learn when it comes to photography and I’m really excited about trying out what I’m learning from this book!

What about you–do you enjoy photography?  Do you know a lot about it, or are you more of a beginner?

A Trip to Altanta

Recently I went to Atlanta with some co-workers to attend the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) and the Atlanta Gift Show. Our hotel was right by the Centennial Olympic Park (photo above by David Henry). While at ICRS, in addition to seeing new books, card, and stationery products, we had the opportunity to view a special preview showing of a new film that will be coming out in September called CourageousIt’s a touching, inspiring movie that will make you laugh and cry, so bring tissues! You can learn more about it and watch a trailer of it by clicking here. The group Casting Crowns has made a music video for the movie, too–click here to see that.

The gift show was at AmericasMart® in the huge Atlanta Convention Center, with floors and floors of the newest items in stationery, giftware, home accessories and furnishings, jewelry and fashion…you name it! One of my favorite showrooms was Natural Life. I loved the colorful, unique, handmade look of their products.

Another showroom I liked was Gabby Home. They had great home accessories and furniture with a rustic and weathered look. It made me want to do some redecorating! :)

Of course, we had to eat, too, and found some great places in downtown Atlanta. We had some delicious breakfasts at the Landmark Diner and enjoyed several lunch and dinners at the Cafe Intermezzo. This cafe has so much to choose from, and if you’re wanting dessert they offer over 100 different tortes, tarts, cakes, pies, and cheesecakes!

It was fun seeing everything in Atlanta. Now I have to do some not-so-fun stuff like laundry…

Creative Cookie Decorating by Naomi

If you like creatively decorated cookies, you’re in for a treat! These photos are from a blog called Hello Naomi. Naomi is a very talented baker, cake decorator, and party stylist. I love to gaze at all the wonderful, yummy creations she comes up with! I thought I’d share a few of my Naomi cookie favorites with you–not only does she make wonderfully fun and pretty cookies, she takes awesome photos of them, too!

Aren’t these cookies great? I did a few earlier posts about some wonderful cupcakes Naomi created, Cupcake Eye Candy and More Cupcakes by Naomi, if you want to check them out. And Naomi’s blog is so inspiring, you’ll have to stop by and visit it!